Friday, February 09, 2018



We hadn’t been to Macau before so we decided to take a day trip to check it out. We weren’t too excited by the casinos, but Macau has an interesting history. Hong Kong was a British outpost, while Macau was Portuguese. And like Hong Kong, it was returned to the Chinese, ending European colonialism in Asia. However, as a Special Administrative Region (like Hong Kong) it maintains its own government, immigration, and currency. A waitress told us it was extremely hard to immigrate to Macau. Much easier to get into Canada, she said. Although the population is almost all Chinese, there are still signs in Portuguese.

The first battle was to get away from the ferry terminal on foot. Hong Kong is quite pedestrian oriented but the Macau terminal was surrounded by freeways. In hindsight we would have been better off to take a casino shuttle and walk from there but we didn’t know that at the time. We managed to find a pedestrian overpass and then a couple of pedestrian elevators (!) to get us into the older part of town. We encountered some lovely patterned cobbled streets and buildings with ornate metal railings reminiscent of New Orleans.

With a population of 650,000 in 12 square miles, Macau (aka Macao) is the most densely populated place in the world. But it wasn’t busy until we go to the tourist areas around the ruins of St Paul’s Cathedral and Senado Square. We had seen photos of the square with the old Portuguese buildings around it, but the reality was a flood of humanity, Chinese New Years decorations obscuring the buildings, and high end shopping (e.g. Rolex).

By this time we were getting hungry for lunch but had no idea where to go. My downloaded Google map had a single restaurant marked - Margaret's Café e Nata. We had no idea what was significant about it, but it seemed worth a try. We  circled it via iPhone GPS until we finally found the right back alley. The tiny takeout cafe had a big crowd around it. We queued up, still not knowing what we were getting into. The specialty turned out to be Portuguese egg tarts. I was expecting something savoury but they were actually sweet. I'm still not sure what the big attraction was!

We figured we'd better at least check out some of the casinos. In 2007 Macau surpassed Las Vegas for gambling revenue. But apart from fancy buildings, we didn't find much to get excited about. We managed to find a quiet spot for (expensive) coffee in the Wynn, where we also got a free shuttle back to the ferry. I took a few photos of the shiny buildings.


And the never ending window cleaning work.


And a few more building reflection shots from back in Hong Kong.

building reflections

skyscraper reflections

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